Graeme Obree has redesigned his Beastie prone bicycle ahead of an attempt to break the human-powered land speed record and, potentially, the 100 mph (161 km/h) barrier at the same time. The radical changes made to the now complete bicycle have improved both visibility and aerodynamics. It was tested at Prestwick airport at the end of June.
The new-look Beastie has a reshaped Kevlar and fiberglass shell. "The front section is rounded," Obree tells Humans Invent, "then it widens out and widens out and then comes back in, in a very smooth curve and narrows down to the back end … the most important part in terms of dividing the air and then pulling the air back in again with the least amount of energy is to have a laminar (non-turbulent) flow over the sides of it."
However, improved aerodynamics have their costs. "I wanted to go at a great speed right away but the guys couldn't launch me," he says. "Back when I tested it at Machrihanish airport, I only needed one person to launch it so I assumed it wasn't that hard to keep me upright and push me in a straight line but because it's now all slippery and fish-shaped it's hard for them."
Visibility has been improved by the addition of a window panel for Obree to see out of when cycling. Though he can see more, Obree's vision is still highly restricted due to his proximity to the ground. For this reason, the June tests were limited to speeds of around 50 mph (80 km/h) as Obree couldn't gauge how much runway he'd covered during test runs. Combined with a smoother service, conditions at Nevada's Battle Mountain should prove much more conducive to high speeds.
According to Humans Invent, the record attempt is slated for September.
Source: Humans Invent